Dr Fiona Kelly BDSc (UWA)

Dr Fiona Kelly BDSc (UWA)

What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted on your life? (Feel free to give specific brands/models).

Cookbook purchased in Geraldton, WA almost 30 years ago

‘Family circle - cooking, a commonsense guide’

I grew up in a pancake restaurant, so I started cooking at a very young age. I have an entire bookcase dedicated to cookbooks and justify the purchases by making sure I cook at least 2 recipes from each. However this simple book is by far my favourite and I would look at it almost every week. Still obsessed with it.

Also would you believe I have published two low sugar cookbooks online with my talented sister Julia.

Link to the website: The Sugar Breakup
Instagram: @thesugarbreakup


What is the funniest thing that has happened (to you or witnessed) in your job?

In my Geraldton clinic I had a patient in the chair who ran a huge cattle station. We had numbed her up ready for a filling when someone opened the back door and a white field mouse ran into my surgery. My nurse screamed and left the room, slamming the door behind her. My patient sat up took off her white slip on shoes handed me one and her no nonsense exact words to me “right, let’s go”. We chased that mouse around the room until she bopped it on the head. Then we disposed of it, she hopped back in the chair and we finished the treatment like nothing had happened.


Favourite guilty pleasure after a stressful day at work?

Cooking with music - at the moment Vivaldi four seasons interpreted by Max Richter - spring and summer, my current passion. The kitchen is my place of Zen.


How has a failure (or apparent failure) set you up for later success? Do you have a "favourite failure" of yours?

I had a job that I loved but it had a poor workplace culture. I tried very hard to change and influence that culture, but it exhausted and drained me. The best thing I did was quit, take a few months off to decide what I really wanted and then actively sought it out. "I realised the career I wanted wasn’t on Seek or Linkedin, I had to create it by approaching those businesses that I admired and wanted to work for. It taught me my true value and that I had to value myself first before anyone else can."

If you have a billboard for all other medical professionals out there with any message, what would it say? (It can be someone else’s quote: Are there any quotes you think of often or live your life by?)

"This life is not a dress rehearsal. Live every moment good and bad. To live is a crazy random gift" @drfionakelly


What is an unusual habit or (conventionally considered to be) absurd thing that you do/love (may or may not be related to your discipline/practice)?

I like to hum or sing to myself. Sometimes random tunes I’ve made up or something catchy that’s stuck in my head. I’ve noticed that my niece now does the same, when I asked her about it she said it was a nice sound and made her feel good. I realised it was the same for me, but I hadn’t thought deeply enough about it. Kids are so honest and unfiltered.

My husband says I’m always dancing to my tunes, even if it’s just a little leg twitch.


In the last 5 years, what new belief, behaviour or habit has most improved your life (may or may not be related to your discipline/practice)?

This saying by Abe Lincoln “I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better”. I really use this in my every day life and also share it with others as a strategy on dealing with people. When you take the time to understand other people, life becomes more meaningful and better."

What advice would you give to a smart, driven student? What advice should they ignore?

"When choosing your first job straight out of education, pick one where you will be challenged, have mentors and learn the most. It will be stressful and exhilarating if you chose well and it will set you up for the rest of your life." Also working as a dentist in the country was the best decision I ever made for my career, consider this option.

And ignore picking the money to start as your first preference for a job. It will come if you do the job well.


What bad recommendations do you hear in your area of expertise that you would want to correct the most?

Non flouride toothpastes. I want to believe so badly in the natural ones, but fluoride in the correct dose is considered one of the greatest health benefits for humans. I'm trailling a new natural toothpaste on the market and hoping it may prove to be the one I can recommend.


In the last 5 years, what have you become better at saying "no" to? What new realizations helped?

When people ask me to go beyond my limits or what I am comfortable with. Plus recognising it was me pushing myself to those limits to please others. When I started saying no, those same people where fine about it. Basically as Elsa said ‘let it go”.


When you feel overwhelmed or lost focus temporarily, what do you do? (What questions do you ask yourself to get back on track?)

Listen to music whilst doing a 1000 piece jigsaw.

I curate the music selection myself, normally one classical and one pop favourites, each month, depending on my mood.

The jigsaw puzzle needs to be something of beauty so it seems meaningful when I piece it together. I have collected many jigsaws from art galleries and redo many of them over the years.

I’m not sure if I ask myself any questions. I still my mind. I get lost in the music and solving the puzzle; it centres me and brings me back to me. I can be like that for hours.

I find it rewarding and special to give myself that time.


What is your best or your favourite achievement in your career so far?

Helping people see their potential and the possibilities available to them. Seeing people around me grow and become better at their jobs, enjoy their lives and teach me something along the way too.

As I’ve got older I think its all about connection with the world, others and yourself. Get that right and the world is a pretty special place.




Dr Fiona Kelly BDSc (UWA)


Dr Fiona Kelly has more than 30 years experience in the dental industry. Throughout this time, she has worked in both rural and city communities where she has had extensive experience in theatre, surgery, and emergency dental procedures. In recent years, and as her career has developed, her focus has moved to restorative and cosmetic dentistry - she loves to fix a smile and change peoples lives.

Dr Kelly finds great satisfaction in the initial check up and diagnosis process. She enjoys getting to know the patient along with the unique circumstances of their situation and how that correlates to the condition in the mouth.

She also enjoys changing perceptions about what a dental visit should be like by consistently striving to make appointments memorable - for all the right reasons. Not only does she like to solve immediate dental problems, but she also enjoys developing a long term plan so that patients can have future excellent dental health.

Dr Fiona is currently studying the Williamson leadership program 2020 with leadership Victoria. A program that teaches its students to become better leaders in the community, making the world and workplaces better.

Outside of work, one of Dr Kelly's biggest passions is the Arts, and can usually be found spending her spare time reading or attending the gym.

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